Tag Archives: protest

Pregnant protest against fossil fuels and climate change in central London

After scientists said the UK is already suffering disruptive climate change, six pregnant women held a powerful demonstration demanding an end to fossil fuel use.

The latest UK State of the Climate report states that 2020 was the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest on record; no other year is in the top 10 on all three criteria.

Within 30 years, the UK has become 0.9C warmer and six per cent wetter.

Fossil fuel use is widely considered to be responsible – and that’s why six women stood, bellies bared, in Piccadilly Circus, on the morning of July 31, drawing attention to Extinction Rebellion’s demand for an immediate ban on all new fossil fuel projects.

The words ‘My Future’ were printed on their bumps and they held a giant ‘umbilical cord’, connected to a petrol pump and nozzle as they made their demand for a cleaner world for their unborn children.

Many people attack XR because the organisation’s demonstrations are often highly disruptive (the point being that climate change – if allowed to go unchecked – is even more disruptive). But these mums-to-be have a point, don’t they?

Tiger Lily Raphael, who is nine months pregnant, said: “I am crippled with concern for the state of my unborn child’s world. It feels like my child is being failed before their life has even begun because of the lack of meaningful Government action on the climate and ecological crisis.

“The climate is changing because we continue to burn fossil fuels, but the UK Government currently has no policies in place to end them.

“I am accountable as a parent and a citizen and so I am here demanding that the Government use their power to stop the harm by putting an immediate ban on all new fossil fuel projects.

“Public money should be spent on protecting us and our children. Please don’t let our children suffer the consequences of Boris’ lack of action.”

XR’s article about the protest said there will be an opportunity to make significant change at the COP 26 summit this year:

“The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1 – 12 November 2021.

“At the summit, delegates including heads of state, climate experts and negotiators will come together to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.

“The COP26 homepage states: ‘Temperatures are soaring. Storms are raging. And crops are failing. If we do not take this chance, every single one of us will be affected.’

“This reality is known to the UK government, which holds the presidency of the COP26 Global Climate Summit in November, but it has failed to act with the urgency dictated by the crisis.

“Extreme weather is becoming the norm and the UK is not prepared. Babies and children are particularly vulnerable.

“The World Health Organization estimates that over 80 per cent of the illnesses, injuries, and deaths occurring due to climate change are in children, particularly those living in poor and under-served areas.

“Climate change threatens children’s futures around the world.”

Source: Six pregnant women bare their bumps at Piccadilly Circus, demanding an end to fossil fuels – Extinction Rebellion UK

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Tory fascism at work: weren’t they supposed to be AGAINST attacking statues?

Yes: the attack on a statue by police fulfils at least two of the 14 signs of fascism: protection of corporate power, and disdain for intellectuals and the arts.

It seems attacking statues is only bad if it represents something the Conservatives support – like slavery.

A statue that was adopted by Extinction Rebellion in the campaign group’s protest and blockading of printing plants owned by Rupert Murdoch’s media organisations last Autumn is fair game, it seems –

– even when it is displayed as part of an arts charity’s competition.

The police were called in – and more than 40 personnel broke into the building where the statue had been installed.

Here’s artist Damien Meade with the story:

And how about this?

All this happened at the beginning of the month but This Writer didn’t hear about it until today.

It remains well worth reporting because of the Tory hypocrisy evident in the raid, and the suggestion that both the police and the Conservative government were acting for a media corporation rather than upholding any law.

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Tories and Labour in war of… infographics… over dictatorial anti-protest Bill

What the Police Bill means: political protesters will be arrested and women will be harmed under Boris Johnson’s Tory government.

Did we all blink and miss the mainstream news coverage of Boris Johnson and Priti Patel’s new Bill to kill political protest in the UK – and harass minorities – passing its final stages in the House of Commons?

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill sailed through its Third Reading on July 5, meaning it will now go to the House of Lords for consideration before being passed into law.

When it is passed into law, it will seriously harm our freedoms in the following ways (as detailed previously on This Site):

The Conservatives are ending your right to protest.

The new law allows police to arrest anybody for putting on a political demonstration that is noticed by anybody else.

There’s no point in protesting if you’re not allowed to make enough noise for other people to notice it, of course.

The move has been interpreted – correctly – as an attempt to head off protests against the Conservatives’ planned political changes that will alter the UK from being a democracy (albeit a not-very-progressive one) into a full-blown dictatorship.

The Tories are giving the police huge new powers of oppression

The example I used was the new power to arrest travellers – not for committing a crime, but on suspicion that they might do so in the future. This comes with a power to confiscate their homes.

Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is full of similar increases of oppression, against people in all parts of the UK’s society, we’re told.

The Conservatives are continuing to turn a blind eye to crimes against women – especially if they are committed by the police

Hate crime is the trademark of Conservative governments in the UK since 2010. They have stirred up hatred against migrant workers; they’ve stirred it up against people with long-term illnesses and disabilities. Their new Police Bill will stir up more hate against minorities, while failing to protect more than half the population from crime.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill sets the penalty for attacking a statue at 10 years imprisonment. That is twice as long a term as the starting-point sentence for rape.

The strategy for getting the Bill passed is simple, childish, and therefore oft-repeated; the offensive measures are mixed in with measures that would create a genuine improvement*.

It is a strategy that the Tories plan to repeat with their forthcoming Bill to increase NHS privatisation.

The premise is simple: anybody opposing the Bill because it attacks our freedoms is accused of opposing the useful measures instead.

Want to see it in action?

The Tories launched a series of infographics into the social media on July 5, after Labour voted against the Police anti-protest Bill. Here’s how they describe Labour’s behaviour:

They also used this:

Labour hit back with this:

I wonder how many people even noticed.

Your legal rights were voted away behind a smokescreen of reasonable policies and it wasn’t reported at all by the mainstream press.

And this is all the Labour Party produced to attack what happened.

Don’t get me wrong; the failure to increase minimum sentences for rapists is important (although possible less important than the failure to secure any sentences at all for most of them?) but the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill contains much more material that is just as evil.

But nobody could be bothered to explain it to the public beyond a couple of infographics that didn’t even touch all the main issues.

*Of course a reasonable and responsible approach would be to separate out the measures that would win Parliament-wide approval and discuss the offensive material separately. But that would require our elected members to behave like adults – and that is well beyond Boris Johnson’s capabilities.

Source: Labour votes against “draconian” anti-protest bill but it passes by majority of 100 – LabourList

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Inquiry: Police breached ‘fundamental rights’ at Sarah Everard and Kill the Bill protests

Clapham Common: police ‘failed to understand their legal duties in respect of protest’. That seems accurate – don’t you think?

Has the UK’s principle news outlet – the BBC – reported this in any way at all?

The report speaks for itself:

Police breached “fundamental rights” in their handling of the Sarah Everard vigil in London and Kill the Bill protests in Bristol, a parliamentary inquiry has found.

The Metropolitan Police and the Avon and Somerset force committed “multiple failings” in their response to the two events, according to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and the Constitution (APPGDC).

Their report claims that both forces wrongly applied coronavirus lockdown laws and “failed to understand their legal duties in respect of protest”.

It also suggested that officers taking action against protesters – as opposed to engaging with them before the event – “may have increased the risk of COVID-19 transmission” at the Sarah Everard Vigil in Clapham, southwest London.

Officers in Bristol “failed to distinguish between those protesting peacefully and those engaging in acts of violence”, which resulted in “excessive force” being used, it added.

Both police forces mentioned in the report have rejected its findings, meaning nothing will be done to improve policing.

It comes just days before Boris Johnson and Priti Patel’s draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill returns to the Commons with its proposals to make protest events like those on Clapham Common and in Bristol almost entirely illegal.

The findings have led to proposed amendments to the Bill, including abandoning some of the new proposed powers – as they are “unnecessary” and have placed police in an “unfair position” – and suggesting a special code on how to police protests.

The inquiry’s chairman, Labour MP Geraint Davies, said: “The police must not become the enforcement agency of the state against those who choose to publicly and collectively call for change – political, economic, social or environmental.

“Parliament must protect our freedoms and reject attempts to increase police power and restrict our right to peaceful protest.”

And yet the news media are strangely unwilling to report on this.

If the public don’t know about it, they can’t support the proposed changes, or the criticism of the police forces, meaning they can carrying on doing exactly whatever they want, and Johnson will be able to curtail our freedoms in any way he pleases.

Are you happy for that to happen?

If so, then you don’t have to do anything. Just sit back and let him strip you of your rights and freedoms. It will hurt – but not until you have a reason to complain and then find out that you aren’t allowed to.

If not, then it’s time to stand up for yourself. You can start by simply making sure all your friends see this article. Or is even that too much because you’re worried about what they’ll say?

Source: Police breached ‘fundamental rights’ at Sarah Everard and Kill the Bill protests, parliamentary inquiry finds | UK News | Sky News

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Isn’t Priti Patel’s attitude to footballers ‘taking the knee’… racist?

It seems to me that the Home Secretary is being disingenuous – if not downright deceitful.

She is deliberately trying to associate “taking the knee” – which is a gesture of solidarity with black people who continue to suffer oppression from modern nation states – with anti-social or even outright criminal behaviour.

Yes, it has been associated with the Black Lives Matter organisation and there are strong reasons to question the behaviour of those involved with it.

But most people who “take the knee” aren’t doing it because they agree with the politics of that particular pressure group. They’re doing it to make the simple point that black lives do matter – at a time when racists have been asserting the opposite.

So it is wrong for Patel to make a false connection between what the England team are doing and any questionable motives, just as it is wrong for her colleagues like Gillian Keegan to condemn the gesture as “creating division”.

How can a show of solidarity with an oppressed group be divisive? It’s an expression of fellowship.

It is also inappropriate to suggest that football fans who boo the England team for “taking the knee” are doing so for any justifiable reason.

I think Patel is right to say that those people are booing because they don’t want to see protests against racism. In other words, they boo because they themselves are racists.

Patel’s support for their position is therefore entirely consistent with the attitudes she has already expressed – for example, towards people of ethnic minorities who she has locked up like sardines in concentration camps where they were made vulnerable to Covid-19 infection.

In short, it seems clear that she supports people who are racists because she is a racist herself.

Source: Priti Patel says fans have right to boo England team for ‘gesture politics’ of taking the knee | The Independent

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Peace and Justice Project update: fighting for the right to protest – and for security WITHOUT war

Positive change: Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project is working to improve the lives of people in the UK and across the world. Isn’t that better than Boris Johnson’s determination to crush anybody who disagrees with him, and to launch pointless wars abroad?

Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project has had a busy month after the Johnson Tory government put forward plans to curb your right to protest and to escalate involvement in pointless wars across the world.

The attack on your right to protest is now well-documented; Boris Johnson and cronies like Priti Patel want to arrest you if you “annoy” them with protests against their increasingly unfair, fascist new laws.

And the plan to spend billions on new nuclear arms and become involved in more foreign wars over lengthier periods of time has also been well-reported.

Here’s Jeremy Corbyn to outline what the Peace and Justice Project has been doing about it – and on all the other issues it is taking forward:

This is worthwhile politics – actually working to make the UK, and the wider world, a better place in which to live.

It is sad that the UK’s system of government has now become so corrupt that the only way of achieving positive goals is as part of a campaigning organisation – but that is the situation that the last 42 years of neoliberal politics has created.

We can either work within that situation or give up and accept slavery to the likes of Johnson, or Keir Starmer, or the next would-be dictator.

If you want to be part of the movement for change, details of how to join the Peace and Justice Project are in the video.

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Humiliation for Patel as crowds block immigration officials from removing Muslim immigrants

If anybody was still in doubt that Priti Patel is an insensitive bully, then those doubts should be dispelled now.

She has just tried to detain – in order to deport – two Muslim immigrants who had settled in Scotland, during a Muslim Festival: Eid al Fitr.

Some on the social media consider it an attempt to bully the Scottish people after they returned another SNP government to the Scottish Parliament and leader Nicola Sturgeon immediately announced that there will be another referendum on Scottish independence from the UK:

If it was, then it has backfired badly because Patel’s immigration officials were forced to release the men after hundreds of residents of Pollokshields in Glasgow surrounded the Border Agency van in Kenmure Street and refused to let it leave.

Officers said they were freeing the men for the safety of everyone involved following a stand-off in Glasgow that lasted for nearly eight hours.

The pair, both Indians, [had been] detained on suspicion of immigration offences and were released on bail pending further investigation.

Video clips on the social media show how public feeling against Priti Patel’s heavy-handed bullying grew, from this…

… to this, as the men were released:

And opponents of Patel and her continuation of the Tory government’s illegal “hostile environment” policy have made their feelings clear:

Sadly, we know Patel will not learn from her mistake. This message strikes as being all-too-accurate:

One other person will be regretting the incident, despite the fact that his heart was in the right place: Howard Beckett, candidate for leadership of the UK’s biggest trade union, Unite.

Mr Beckett tweeted in anger when the situation in Glasgow became clear, and his words were ill-chosen, for the reasons described in Owen Jones’s tweet:

But the Unite leadership candidate recognised this, acknowledged it, deleted his tweet and apologised:

He then (rightly) published further messages attacking Patel’s shockingly inappropriate and oppressive behaviour:

While his initial message was wrong in the language and concepts it used, it would have been equally wrong for him to back away from the issue after realising his mistake.

By the same token, it would also be wrong for anybody watching and commenting on what happened (Owen Jones take notice) to side with Patel against Beckett because of it:

If either of them is a racist, it could only be Priti Patel.

Source: Immigration officials release two men after crowds block van | The Independent

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Unforgivable: anti-lockdown protesters compare masks and vaccines with the Holocaust

I was going to avoid reporting on anti-lockdown protests, because in a time when wearing a mask and having a vaccination injection could save many thousands of lives, I would have hoped anyone with sense could see that these people are wrong.

But some of the protesters who were out in London today (and elsewhere, I dare say) took the opportunity to take their silliness across the line into the unforgivable. I refer to this:

It is bad enough that people like this … lady … have chosen to mock the memories of more than 150,000 victims of the Covid-19 virus by announcing their ignorance of its threat all over our streets.

But then they had to pretend that measures designed to safeguard their lives are somehow similar to the systematic persecution and extermination of Jews by Nazi Germany.

It isn’t very often that I agree with David Baddiel on matters concerning anti-Semitism but this was an offence, not only against the 150,000 who have died over the last year or so but also against the six million Jews who were murdered in the Nazi Holocaust.

In that context, I think his tweeted “Take. That. Off.” was remarkably restrained.

Others who took to the social media to express their outrage were more explanatory. I won’t publish the actual tweets because they feature the full image, including the woman’s face, and I don’t want to give her the publicity.

The Auschwitz Memorial Twitter account stated, “Instrumentalization of the tragedy of Jews who suffered, were humiliated, marked with a yellow star, and finally isolated in ghettos and murdered during the Holocaust, in order to argue against vaccination that saves human lives is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline.” This was also remarkably restrained, in my opinion.

Heather Rufus tweeted: “To anyone wearing the Star of David as a lockdown protest, you’re totally lacking in awareness. Millions of Jewish people were murdered during the Holocaust and you are likening lockdown to that. You should hang your head in shame. Gross.”

Ian Moore went further: “If you wore a Yellow Star today to protest against facemasks that protect others, you are a stain on humanity. You ignorant, privileged morons. Whatever your perceived grievances are, how is that Holocaust level? Vile.”

Benjamin Cohen, CEO of Pink News added: “If you really want to be a crank and protest about the Covid lockdowns that have saved lives, do not then appropriate a symbol from the Holocaust that led to the murder of six million Jews and permanently diminished Jewish population, destroyed Jewish culture and history.”

There’s this, from @HowardA_Esq: “Being asked to wear a mask or be vaccinated is not like having your family burned alive, gassed to death, starved to death or worked to death because of their religion. This is the symbol of our religion and our persecution. Take it off, bigot.

“My family were murdered by people who force them to wear the Star of David. Playing holocaust victim because you were asked to wear a mask, it’s reprehensible on every level.”

Damn straight.

Source: London protest: Thousands gather for anti-lockdown march after pubs and shops reopen – Mirror Online

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Coverage of Kill the Bill protests shows continued bias against the public

Police at one of the Easter Saturday ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstrations: who do you think is being more violent here?

Dozens of demonstrations against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill took place across the UK on Saturday (April 3).

I held off reporting on them because I wanted to see how the national media covered the protests first.

Remember my article on how the media try to turn the public against ordinary people by slanting their stories, from a few weeks ago? Here’s a reminder:

First the press [respond] … by reporting it in ‘passive voice’. Reports stated ‘clashes occurred…’ or ‘clashes between protesters and police’. Words carefully chosen to not indicate who had started the clashes (the police) and who had been on the receiving end of the majority of the violence (those attending…)

They will report on any police injuries ‘six police received medical attention due to the protest’ they might say… It is very rare that figures are collected for how many protesters were injured, and the assumption may be that this means that number is zero, and the police were thus on the receiving end of more violence than they dished out.

Many news outlets chose to term everyone present as ‘protesters’.

Politicians… chime in condemning the ‘violence’ caused by ‘protesters’.

Now let’s have a look at some reports from the police and the mainstream media.

Who do you see being violent in the video clip?

How many members of the public were injured?

Agents provocateurs? Police plants? We’ve seen evidence of those in recent demonstrations.

Members of the public saw matters from a different angle – such as the following, showing a policeman very clearly kneeling on the neck of a member of the public. Shades of George Floyd?

The Met Police has issued a statement:

The best that could be suggested is that the Met’s spokespeople may have been accidentally looking at a different incident in which somebody was indeed kneeling on a person’s back. Of course, this would imply that they make a habit of attacking members of the public in this way. Not a good look!

And their images of protests around the UK were similarly divergent from the impression being pushed by the police and the press:

The ‘Kill the Bill’ protests (which are about terminating the Police Bill, not the ‘Old Bill’ which is a colloquial name for the police themselves) have been supported by opposition MPs like Jeremy Corbyn…

Mr Corbyn said the bill would prevent protest without police approval.

Speaking in Parliament Square in central London, Mr Corbyn invoked figures such as the suffragettes and Nelson Mandela as he urged the crowd to oppose the bill.

“Stand up for the right to protest, stand up for the right to have your voice heard,” he said.

“I want a society where it is safe to walk the streets, where you can speak out, you can demonstrate and you don’t have to seek the permission from the police or the home secretary to do so,” he said.

… and Zarah Sultana:

Unsurprisingly the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Keir Starmer, has been nowhere to be found.

Source: Kill the Bill protests: Defend right to protest, Corbyn tells marchers – BBC News

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Police inspectorate skewed report to support government clampdown on protests – claim

Whistleblower: this image is representative (the revelations in the article were made by a woman). Many whistleblowers suffer for their principles, in spite of assurances that this won’t happen. It will be interesting to see what happens to Alice O’Keeffe’s career from now on.

The timing is exquisite.

On the day This Site published an article about allegations that a report on institutional racism was scripted by the Tory government to support a lie that there isn’t any in the UK, a whistleblower attacked another report – on the policing of protests – saying it was scripted by the Tories too.

The claim is a huge blow to the credibility of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. Another blow to its credibility is the fact that it will apparently examine whether there is any truth to it.

For clarity, whistleblower Alice O’Keeffe has said

The official policing inspectorate showed repeated bias in favour of the police and against peaceful protesters…

[The report] was skewed in favour of the government view, with conclusions reached before evidence was gathered and assessed.

The civil service code was breached.

HMICFRS told the home secretary in a private letter it backed the need to change protest laws five months before its report was published.

Some in the inquiry team… likened peaceful protesters to the IRA, which waged a terrorist campaign against the UK.

Ms O’Keeffe’s written complaint was made as HMICFRS worked on a separate report on the policing of a vigil for Sarah Everard. She said the biases she had seen left her fearing a report into the policing of the vigil would be a whitewash.

And, as we have seen, it seems she was right.

That report totally exonerated the police and found fault with those of us who criticised police violence against and manhandling of women at the Clapham Common vigil.

HMICFRS has defended itself by claiming independence – based on nothing more than reputation. But reputations can be broken by facts.

And Ms O’Keeffe has spent five years working for the police inspectorate, so it is reasonable to believe she may know her subject.

Well, I hope she made copies of her evidence and put them in a safe place because if HMICFRS holds any information corroborating her claims then you can bet the hard drives have been wiped and the hard copies shredded already.

The upshot of all this is that in the short term we have another reason to distrust a police service that seems to be working for a totalitarian Tory government – and against us.

And in the long term?

We can expect another report that whitewashes the Tory-supporting inspectorate and gives us even more reason to live in fear of our government and the police force that smashes our heads in its name.

Source: Police watchdog accused of skewing report to back protests clampdown | Police | The Guardian

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